Friday, 22 May 2009

Elkington to Braunston 22 May 09

A late start this morning setting off at 10 30, we saw several people and boats that we knew as we made our way to Crick. There were very few boats moored in the area compared to when we have attended the show in past years. There is a long section where mooring is banned due to Water Voles taking up residence, considering that they moved in while mooring was allowed I think it unlikely they will leave if boats moor there now, they may get more upset about large bright orange buoys and a length of blue rope floating on the water surface a couple of inches from the bank that they have to negotiate every time they leave home. Last time we visited the show by boat we moored at the tunnel mouth and then boats were breasted all the way through Crick. When we passed today there were 5 bank side moorings free between the tunnel and the first bridge and no breasted boats other than on the reserved moorings.  We had bit of a wait at Watford lock, the lock keeper instructed us to drop through the first lock and then wait for two boats to come up,the last one being "Water Ouzel" Just as well we checked as "Water Ouzel" came into the top of the staircase as another boat had just entered at the bottom.  We were soon on our way again passing lots of vacant spots on the visitor moorings just before Norton Junction. Here we turned sharp right to Braunston, it wasn't long before we were dragging the bottom a good 6 feet from the towing path where they have rebuilt it with sand bags, I wonder how many they managed to drop of the boat while they carrying out the work. We didn't meet anything in Braunston tunnel but there was a boat entered behind us when we were half way through. As we approached Braunston Top Lock a hire boat was just leaving but the crew hung around to close up behind us, so I had to point out to them that we would be waiting for the boat behind. We didn't meet anyone in the flight and apart from the first two locks they were all against us.  By the time we cleared the flight it was 6 pm so moorings were at a premium and the first vacancy was just through the A 45 road bridge opposite the Mill House pub.
We decided that as we were here we would eat at the Mill House, entering didn't exactly fill us with confidence and reading the chefs specialities, all day breakfast, chips with Mayo, didn't improve things. When we finally found a full menu we decided that may be the Old Plough would be a better bet. It didn't look very busy especially compared to some of the occasions we have visited. I asked the young lady if we could eat and was taken aback when she replied, "No, we have just taken a large order and can't do any more" it was about quarter to eight. That's another pub crossed off my list to visit in the future and it was half empty, I've eaten there when its been heaving in the past. We carried on to The Wheat Sheaf, ordered an excellent Chinese Take a way for two, had a pint of Pedigree while we waited, the service was to good for a second pint and returned to the boat to eat it.  From our experience this evening the Nelson should do a roaring trade if they handle it correctly.

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